Billy Joe Shaver, who wrote many of the anthems of the Outlaw Movement, is a true outlaw now. Shaver was indicted Wednesday on two felony charges by a McLennan County grand jury, stemming from a shooting incident at Papa Joe’s Texas Saloon in Lorena the night of April 1, 2007. Lorena is near Waco, where Shaver makes his home.
Shaver is charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. He is accused of shooting Billy B. Coker outside the bar after the two argued. According to witnesses, Shaver was heard to ask Coker “where do you want it?” before shooting him in the face. At the time, Shaver’s attorneys alleged Coker was drunk and threatening Shaver with a knife, but Coker claims that he was unarmed.
According to various news agencies, Shaver has not turned himself into authorities yet, and his most recent attorney could not be reached for comment.
Shaver came to fame when Waylon Jennings recorded a number of his songs on the legendary Honky Tonk Heroes album in 1973. The title track became a signature song for both Jennings and Shaver.
Shaver’s last album, Everybody’s Brother, was released on Compadre Records, a local label specializing in country and Texas music that is owned by Matthew Knowles’s Music World Entertainment.
Compadre Records executive Brad Turcotte told thePress
that Shaver called him the night before the indictment came down. He told Turcotte he expected to be indicted.
“But he was just the old Billy Joe,” said Turcotte. “He was in good spirits and had actually called with some ideas he had for radio promotion for his next single. Just business as usual.”
Turcotte had no comment regarding Shaver’s whereabouts or any of the legal issues surrounding the indictment.
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Shaver, a native of Corsicana, is a member of the Texas Country Music Hall of Fame, has received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Americana Music Association and served as spiritual advisor to Kinky Friedman during his campaign for governor. Shaver appeared in the Robert Duvall movie, The Apostle, and sings the theme to The Squidbillies, part of Cartoon Network's Adult Swim bloc. His notable songs include “Old Five and Dimers Like Me,” “Ride Me Down Easy,” “Ain’t No God In Mexico,” “Black Rose,” “Freedom’s Child” and “Low Down Freedom.”
Above is a video of Pasadena-born Austin honky-tonker Dale Watson singing "Where Do You Want It," a song he wrote after hearing of shooting incident. - William Michael Smith